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Jonne ter Braak is our new dance curator. Her advice: ‘don’t try to understand dance.’

Published 14 Mar 2016 at 10:32 by Liedewij Loorbach

Once upon a time, Jonne impersonated a flower in a ballet leotard. Today, she’s a programmer – at Holland Festival until 1 April, and at Felix Meritis and De Nieuwe Liefde after that. “We spend all day long thinking rationally, but dance communicates on a deeper level.”

 

What was your first ever dance experience?

“I’ve wanted to dance since I was four years old. I started out at an anthroposophic dance school, which was all about moving responsibly. But I wanted to be a ballerina, just like all the ballerinas I saw on television. So I went to a ballet school, and pretended to be a flower in a dress. By the time I was leading up to high school, I wanted to be Britney Spears, so I started doing jazz ballet.”

 

You were enrolled in the dance academy in Tilburg for two years. Why did you stop?

“I was eighteen when I started at that school. It was a harsh world. Competitive, with stop at no cost mentality. Your entire world has to be dance, whereas I was also interested in so many other things. As a programmer, that’s a great characteristic. I ended up studying Art, Culture and Media in Groningen.”

 

You are only just twenty-eight, and you are one of the three programmers behind the prestigious Holland Festival. How did you make that happen?

“I had already programmed during Nacht van de Wetenschap (‘The Night of Science’) in Groningen, and through my network had done production for this dance collective, Club Guy & Roni. After that, I did an internship at Holland Festival. I was allowed to organise a talk show during my internship, and that went really well. Now I’m responsible for programming the smaller acts. I’ll be leaving as of 1 April to become the programmer at Felix Meritis and De Nieuwe Liefde.”

 

What dance films would you recommend?

“Everything by Fred Astaire. The way that man dances… Everybody from Michael Jackson to, well, anyone: if you see someone dancing on TV, they’ve got their moves off this guy.”

Other people have picked up on Michael Jackson’s link to Astaire:

What do you want to offer We Are Public members?

“I’m going to be very eclectic in the things I select. Including hip hop, and all dance forms that arise in culture. That means I might select events that won’t take place on stage, but in a club, for example. I once organised a Vogue Ball with House of Vineyard for Holland Festival.”

That looks a little something like this:

How are we meant to watch dance?

“Let it go, you shouldn’t try to understand it. We spend all day long thinking rationally, but by the time you’re sitting in the audience of a dance performance, you should try let that go. Dance communicates on a deeper level, just like music does. It’s absolutely fine if you don’t understand the maker’s intentions. Let the movements and the fantasy move you.”

 

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